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2 men died in a botched beer robbery. Cousins now sentenced in store clerk’s murder.

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

A second man pleaded guilty Monday in the 2015 robbery and shooting of a Durham convenience store clerk.

Charles William Willis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Mohamed Thabet Shoufar, 58, an employee at the Buy Quick convenience store at 419 S. Briggs Ave.

As part of a plea agreement, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson sentenced Willis to between 12 years and more than 15 years in state prison, minus time served at the Durham County jail.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Wallace said Willis, Robert Jackson and Nicholas Bell set out to steal beer and rob the store Dec. 19, 2015. During the robbery, Jackson shot Shoufar.

Bell was later killed by Jackson, Wallace said. Police received information that Bell had been talking about the fatal robbery and was concerned, Wallace said during Jackson’s recent plea hearing. In June, Jackson pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced to between 23 years and 29 years in prison, The News & Observer reported.

Willis was initially charged in Bell’s murder, but the charge has been dismissed, Wallace said.

After the deaths, Willis told police early in the investigation that he wanted to cooperate in the prosecution of Jackson, Wallace said.

Defense Attorney Robert Singagliese noted that Willis and Jackson were cousins and Willis has no prior record.

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Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.
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